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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Flag Type Penny

CNG 109, Lot: 888. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $2200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

NORMAN. Stephen. 1135-1154. AR Penny (20mm, 1.04 g). ‘Ornamental’ Group, Flag type. York (Local) mint. Struck circa 1145-1149. Crowned bust right, holding spear-tipped flag; star to right / Cross moline; lis in quarters. Allen, York, Phase 3, unlisted dies; Mack 217; North 919; SCBC 1313. VF, toned, slight bend with associated surface and flan cracks. Good detail. Rare.

According to Allen’s new analysis of the York local coinage, the entire series appears to have been a monetary regime of William, count of Aumale and lord of Holderness (d. 1179). He was a commander under Stephen at the Battle of the Standard (1138), and for this service was named earl of York by the king. It is thought that the flag on this issue may refer to the battle, but it may also represent the papal gonfalon that Eugenius III sent to the participants of the Second Crusade (1145-9) before their departure for the Holy Land. The fact that the flag was replaced with a palm frond on some dies, which also may hold an association to the Second Crusade, gives credence to the identification of the flag as the gonfalon of Eugenius. Moreover, the date of issue of the Phase 3 Flag type corresponds to the period of the Second Crusade, and there is evidence that William’s foundation of Meaux Abby in 1150 was in lieu of him participating in the Crusade.